You might have noticed the heritage revival happening. Indeed it’s hard not to, with brands such as Pendleton and Woolrich regaining such strong ground in popularity, and you might be wondering what’s up.
Well it’s the day that clothing nerds have been waiting years for – the return of an emphasis on quality in clothing. With polyester and rayon blends being tossed into the donations bins, heritage brands that have never compromised their quality or ethos are regaining their rightful popularity.
So with that in mind, EveryGuyed has constructed this Guide to Heritage Brands to help you ensure you know just what’s what. By no means a definitive list, we think this is a strong base guide to help you understand what each brand brings to the table.
Pendleton Woolen Mills
An American clothing company founded in the 1800s, the brand first moved to Pendleton, Oregon in 1909. Already known for their woolen clothing, the mill that the company bought was known for creating hardy woolen pieces in traditional native American patterns. Today, the brand is still known for the same.
Iconic piece: If there is one thing that is distinctly Pendleton, it’s the brands blankets. Made of top grade wool and featuring traditional native patterns, these blankets are still made in the USA & last a lifetime (& sometimes several).
Similar brands: Woolrich Woolen Mills.
Where your dad got all those sweaters, L.L. Bean started its existence not as a manufacturer of dad sweaters and mom pants, but as an outdoorsing company in Maine. A classic staple of American closets worldwide, L.L. Bean prides itself on classic affordable fashion – which is not to say that you can’t find some daring pieces in the L.L. Bean Signature line either.
Iconic piece: The Bean boot, a rubber and leather lace-up boot, still made in Maine, and perfect for cold and wet weather. Braver souls might also give the Bean Norwegian sweater, a hand sewn staple of preppy wear, still made in Norway.
Similar brands: Land’s End, The North Face.
Classic American business clothier J. Press has been a staple of New England preppy style for generations. With only a handful of locations, and a catalog that hasn’t changed since the Eisenhower administration, this is perfect for stuffed shirts on Wall Street, and preppy’s.
Iconic piece: The blue oxford cloth button down shirt. Still made in America, still made of heavyweight cotton, and still made to fit as it did your dad, this miracle of men’s tailoring may have been originated by Brooks Brothers, but it’s still found in perfection at J. Press.
Similar brands: Brooks Brothers, Hickey Freeman, Ralph Lauren, Hart Schaffner Marx.
A staple of British country life, Barbour’s waxed cotton jackets are seeing their popularity explode again. Classic hardy wear made for roughing it and facing the elements, the Barbour coat will cost a pretty penny, but its unique waxed cotton construction makes each jacket tough enough to last decades.
Iconic piece: The waxed cotton jacket is as part of the classic British country look as tweed suits, brogues, and hats at jaunty angles. Water repellant, and lined for warmth, these jackets are essential for surviving the unpredictable weather of autumn.
Similar brands: Filson, Belstaff, Musto.
Red Wing Shoes
One of the increasingly rare American shoemakers, Red Wing stands out from the crowd for being a workwear brand first, fashion brand second. Boots and shoes are handmade in a few plants in the USA, including two in Red Wing, Minnesota, which made boots during both World Wars.
Iconic piece: The Iron Ranger. First used as a working boot by miners in Minnesota, the Ranger is now part of the heritage brand. A cap-toe lace up boot, made of premium leather and triple welted construction, it’s a tough mix of quality and style.
Similar brands: Timberland, Kodiak, Viberg.
The heritage brands that have survived today are the best at what they do, and each brand offers something unique and different to suit the varying needs of the modern man.
- Pendleton: Woolen workwear, flannel shirts, blankets.
- L.L. Bean: Functional outdoorsy equipment, dad sweaters, modern casual-wear.
- J. Press: Very conservative, very traditional business-wear, preppy casual-wear.
- Barbour: British waxed cotton jackets, made in the traditional way.
- Red Wing Shoes: Leather workboots and work-boot inspired fashion footwear.
Did we miss a major brand? Got any a recommendation for a follow up piece? Give us a shout in the comments, and we’ll get back to you just as quick as we can.